Home school advocates are outraged by an energy company's decision to rescind an Ohio man's job offer after learning he had been home schooled.
Michael Donnelly, an attorney for Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), told FoxNews.com that the young man was offered a competitive job by the NiSource energy company.
The man, whose name has not been made public, had a home-schooled high school diploma and three years of relevant experience when he applied for the job, according to his attorney, who also noted he had completed seven college-level courses.
Donnelly claimed the energy company offered him the job and then changed its decision upon hearing he did not have an official high school diploma, which the company requires.
"You've got a highly qualified young man who has years of relevant experience and was offered a job based on those qualifications," Donnelly said. "Because he has a home-schooled diploma, this company rescinded the offer."
"The people at the lower level wanted him for the job. They then hired a background check company, which found it [the diploma] wasn’t a publicly recognized credential."
"He was obviously qualified because they offered him the job," he said. "We’re not saying that they did anything illegal. They can do this. It’s just unethical and immoral. You’ve got this company excluding an entire class of people from employment. It's discrimination against home-schoolers."
According to Ohio's Department of Education website, "Home-schooled students do not receive an Ohio high school diploma recognized by the State Board of Education."
"When pursuing employment or advanced education, home-schooled students may need to complete the GED to show equivalence to a state recognized high school diploma," the website reads.
Donnelly explained that home-school diplomas are issued by parents, who often purchase them from organizations, such as his. He said his client did not opt to take the GED because "he's already completed his high school education" through home schooling.
"The GED is for people who haven't finished high school," he said.
Donnelly said he is working with state legislators to "recognize home-school diplomas as sufficient in demonstrating a child has completed a high school education."
"We’ve tried to convince the company that there is no legal impediment" in hiring the man, whom Donnelly said had solid transcripts and grades that put him on the dean's list at his community college.
"We hope they will change their policy," he said. "Our country stands on the ideal that people are judged on their individual merit."
NiSource said in a statement to Fox News that the company has hired qualified home-schooled candidates in the past and will continue to hire such candidates in the future.
"In fact, among our 8,000+ current employees, we are proud to have colleagues and coworkers who were home schooled or received other non-traditional educations. We value them as strong, skilled contributors to our organization," the statement read.